Derek Arden chats with Chantal Cornelius about Marketing

Marketing expert and speaker Chantel Cornelius in interviewed by Derek Arden on Social media marketing, Older style marketing, Networking and many other techniques


Derek – Hello everybody and welcome to the Monday night Live Chat Show and thank you so much for joining. Today, I have Chantal Cornelius with me, who’s a marketing expert, marketing guru, she’s also director of the Professional Speaking Association, and has done a lot of work with small businesses, individuals, and also larger businesses, on helping the market and marketing, of course, is the first step on selling and if we don’t sell anything, we don’t have a business so that’s what it’s all about, even though in the UK sometimes the words selling or marketing are dirty words, people did think that often business just turns up, well, in the new normal, business is just not gonna turn up so we clearly need to be using all the equipment, all the electronics all the virtual meetings that we possibly can. Chantal, thank you so much for joining us today.

Chantal – Thank you for having me, Derek. Nice to be here.  

How did you get into Marketing?

Derek – Chantal, shall we start with a little bit of history about you, I understand that so you live in Newbury in Berkshire, which is a wonderful part of the world, where they breed race horses and all sorts of fabulous things like that. You did an agricultural degree, and now you’re a marketing expert. I’m just wondering what the connection was between those two.

Chantal – There’s no connection at all, Derek. So, I, I can’t actually really remember why I did agriculture, I think I wanted to do it at the time, but got about two thirds away through the degree course and realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do, and I actually spent more time in my final year riding horses. So, decided to go and do horses full time when I left university, I was doing it for just about a year and it ended up being three years. And after too many long hours of falling off and being kicked and bitten by other people’s horses, I thought, “This is just crazy.” 

And I went to look for – basically I was looking for kind of an admin job in an office, and was sort of spotted by somebody who ran a private Training College in Oxford [Otter heard you don’t suppose], and I did some temping for him and, afterward, he said, “Would you like to be my marketing manager?” And I said, “Well I don’t know anything about marketing,” and he said, “I can teach you.” And he did, because one of the courses that we ran there was the Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma in marketing, and I worked through that and yeah so that’s, that’s kind of how I fell off a horse and fell into marketing.

Derek – a riding instructor that falls off of horses I find that a bit odd.

Chantal – but it happens I mean, the riding school horses, you don’t fall off, it’s the private owners’ horses that there are a bit more, a bit more scatty, you can fall off a bit more easily. And we often used to get sent the difficult horses and they go, “Oh yeah, the youngsters right, they’ll sit on them and deal with them,” not great.

Derek – Okay on your LinkedIn profile, and we’re going to talk about LinkedIn a bit more a bit later, it says that you were providing sales leads for men. What was that all about?

Chantal – So I’d been working in a company that was kind of my dream job, I was working for a training company, and then I was made redundant. And I really struggled to find another job and I was getting a bit desperate and I was offered a job at a print company in Oxford, that had a team of salesmen and they were all men. And they – the job was advertised as a sales and marketing executive – what they actually wanted was a secretary, that would just look after to the blokes. So, these guys, they *were selling but they were basically looking after their existing customers and they each one would go out every week and go and talk to their existing customers, which is a brilliant way of doing marketing, by the way, but they come back and they’d produce handwritten reports and give them to me saying, “Can you type these up?” and I’m like, “I’m not your secretary. This is not what I’m here for.” So yeah, they were, they were all blokes. It was quite an old fashioned company, and I think I lasted about 18 months there then thought, “This is not what I should be doing,” and that’s why I went off and set up my own business. 

Derek – I bet you were a bit scary, I watched you as you described that, opened your eyes and flashed your eyebrows and I imagine that you’d have done that at these blokes and they’d have been cringing. Yeah, I can see that.

Chantal – Yeah, I did, I started getting them trained and they put handwritten notes on my desk, I was not going to do anything.

Chantal’s niche

Derek – By the way, I love that poster behind you, behind your left shoulder, about success and this is what we’re all about. And thank you for putting that up for us. So, tell us about marketing, what do you do for people in the marketing arena?

Chantal – So, I specialise in working with coaches, consultants, trainers, so people who provide *services rather than products or widgets. And most of the people I work with are really, really good at what they do, but they’re not very good at marketing or they don’t like doing it or they just don’t know what marketing to do, because marketing keeps changing, and there are so many different marketing activities that you could do.  A lot of people end up doing far too much or too many different activities, or they’re not doing enough, or they’re not doing enough in the right places, and a lot of people go through feast and famine where they’ll do a lot of marketing, get some new business in and then they get too busy to do any more marketing, so they stop, and then the work eventually dries up and you end up on this kind of up-down rollercoaster and it’s exhausting and it’s not good for cash flow. 

So, what I generally do to start with clients is actually put together a marketing strategy for them, so we get clear on what it is, what is it that they actually do what makes them different. A lot of coaches, especially, don’t know what makes them different to all the other coaches out there so we really figure that out. We get clear on who their ideal clients are, and then we look at the best marketing to do for them, so that they can go and actually put it into practice and a lot of the time it’s really about simplifying the marketing, so rather than trying to do. 15 different activities, a week, we may be reducing down to three or four that will actually work because there are, yeah, there are quite a small number that that work really well.  (Phil’s three mountains)

The ABC of marketing

Derek – What are those three or four that work really well? I know that probably differs, but you know, for my business, if you like, as a coach and a business consultant?

Chantal – So I have an ABC of marketing and A stands for ‘ask for referrals’. So when you provide a service, people will work with you because they’ve been recommended to you, so you know if you’re looking for coach or a speaker or even if you’re looking for a therapist or a plumber, you’re more likely to ask somebody for a recommendation and go with that recommendation than work with somebody you’ve never heard of. So, asking for referrals – and there’s a lot you can do to generate more referrals. 

So that’s the first one, B is for ‘business networking.’ So that’s about attending events like this and meeting other people, but also speaking at events, because, if you can speak as an event and people get a feel for what you talk about, what you do, again, they’re more likely to trust you, and then go, “Yeah okay, can you help me.” 

And C is ‘Content’, and this is where things like social media come in, because you could just stick to referrals and networking, but the content is useful backup, so for instance if somebody is recommended to me, the first thing they’ll do is they’ll go look me up online, like you’ve done, they’ll go look at my LinkedIn profile, and they want to see useful content. So, if what you’re putting out on social media on your website in a newsletter is useful and valuable, they’re more likely to then actually pick up the phone. Because if they, you know, somebody might be recommended to me but if there’s nothing useful on my website, they’re not even going to bother phoning me. So, those are the ones that were …

Derek – okay that’s great, and do you write the contents for the clients?

Chantal – I don’t any more, I used to write mountains of content, but I don’t any more, I write my own material because I love writing it, but I have a team of copywriters that that we work with, most of my clients these days I just mentor them and show them what to do and they do their own writing. I have a few clients where we still do that, you know, I have somebody who does the writing for them. But equally if I have a client who I’m mentoring and they don’t like writing, I can recommend copywriters into them. And the good copywriters will get inside your head and they’ll be able to write with your voice, so it sounds just like you speaking.

Marketing a service is the same, regardless of size

Derek – We’ve got one or two people on here that work for larger companies like Ryan and Matt and clearly, they want to be able to show their bosses where they’re getting their business marketing wrong and things like that, have you got any tips for that, I know it’s outside your normal area but what would you say?

Chantal – it depends what the company does, but if it’s still a service business, it’s exactly the same, regardless of the size of the business. Exactly the same because with services, like I said, people buy on trust, so you’ve got to build up trust, and even, I mean if you look at look at things like Amazon, where people are buying products, these days, you’re much more likely to buy if you’ve seen a review or recommendation from somebody else. I bought a book on Amazon a little while ago, and I bought it because somebody I know through the PSA had actually written a recommendation for it. So, that’s that’s why I bought it.

Derek – I hope it was my book, Chantal.

Chantal – it wasn’t your book, Derek, afraid not.

Derek – Maybe it was Will Kintish’s in that case. You reminded me of Will Kintish [Otter heard you’re willing to be a Wilkins just] because you said ‘know, like, trust’ and that’s one of his mantras from networking, that applies exactly the same to marketing, does it?

Chantal – absolutely, networking is one of the best forms of marketing so yeah absolutely it’s exactly the same. Yeah, definitely. 

Derek – So how do you decide, how does someone decide if they trust me, when they look on look on my website?

Chantal – So, if there are testimonials on there, if there are written and video testimonials, that helps. If there are videos of you speaking, or videos of you giving away advice, that’s really useful, so on my website if I’ve got any chance of being filmed and videoed, I jump at it and then stick it on my website so people can watch it, but it’s also the written content, so if you’re giving away advice, people are going to trust you, whereas if your website just says, “I’m great, but I’m not going to give you anything, you’ve got to pay me if you want something,” they’re not gonna trust you.

How would you advise Will or Derek? And thank yous

Derek – That’s the Law of Reciprocity isn’t it and we talked about that a lot and we all know that works, give things away and things come back from different directions but make sure you give it unconditionally, not with a catch. Yeah. So, so fabulous so if you were advising me, or Will, who you know, to upgrade our marketing, what would you say?

Chantal – without having looked at what marketing either of you are doing, I would say… So, if we follow the ABC, I would say, so for instance with referrals, make sure that every time you get a referral, you’re thanking people for it properly. So, every time I receive a referral, I send a handwritten thank you card, regardless of whether or not it turns into business. And I’ve actually had people phone me to say thank you for thank you card. And then if a referral actually turns into business then I send something even better so I might send champagne or flowers or theatre tickets or I take clients out for dinner to say thank you. 

There’s nothing worse than if you if you give somebody a referral and they don’t say thank you to you, you’re much less likely to give another referral, so it’s… you know, I like doing things that are personal, so don’t send a bottle of champagne to somebody who doesn’t drink, don’t send chocolates to somebody who’s diabetic or on a diet, you have to [take that into account]. Yes, that’s the first one, and on the networking side, I think it’s about just being – it’s about the reciprocity again, about being generous. Don’t go to a networking event just thinking, “Right what’s in it for me?” Look at who else is in the room or on the screen and think about how you can help other people, who can you connect to whom, and do it that way, but also definitely think about… I mean for me, speaking at events works much better than just turning up and networking, so I measure my marketing every three months, I did it about two weeks ago, at the moment 53% of my current clients are my clients because they’ve heard me speak at an event, and that’s creeping up. 

So I would do both, but well for all of you, do a bit of measurement of your marketing, look at where your clients have come from, do more of what’s working and less of less of what isn’t [Otter heard autism].

Not everyone’s a speaker?

Derek – Now that’s the same for everybody, whether they’re speakers or not, so I know they might, people might be saying on this on this Zoom, well I’m not a speaker, so I can’t speak, but I know someone like Ryan makes presentations at conferences to his own company. And of course, the more you speak the more exposure you get whether that’s internal or external, absolutely right.

Chantal – I learned a long time ago before, before I did, I went to Toastmasters, years and years ago, because I had no idea how to do public speaking. I discovered that I really enjoyed it, so I started using it to promote my business and then somebody said, Oh, you should join the PSA, Professional Speaking Association and get really good. And so, I learned to do the speaking first and then then became a speaker, if you like. So yeah, you don’t have to be a speaker to use speaking to promote your business.

Derek – Speaking’s not very difficult, actually if you simplify, that’s the real thing, people make it too complicated, too much information in the middle, don’t use the power of three at the beginning and the power of three at the end and if anyone wants a copy of my book, ‘Presenting Phenomenally’, I will send you a PDF, just email me, guys, it’s pretty simple. You just have to be well prepared to get over those nerves and, and just go for it. 

Old-fashioned marketing

Chantal, can I turn to old-fashioned marketing like brochures and business cards or whatever you would call old-fashioned marketing, what about that?

Chantal – very, very important these days, I think – I’m going to show you something now – [shows a Christmas card] – a sneak preview. This is this year’s Appletree Christmas card. 

Derek – Oh wow, 

Chantal – I know it’s August, and I have Christmas cards, very sad, and I’m a big fan of Christmas cards, (although I don’t send cards to one of my clients because she’s Buddhist, and she doesn’t do Christmas), but inside I have them printed, so I’ve got my little Appletree logo down there, black & white version. 

And I order them in the summer because the company I buy them from do really good deals during the summer, the sooner you order them cheaper they are. So, I’ve now got a box of 100 or so cards sitting in the cupboard, I’ve got a note in my diary for mid-November to pull them out of the cupboard and start writing them. So, I handwrite every envelope, I stick stamps on them, I hand write notes into each card. And each one will say something like, ‘thanks for your support this year,’ or ‘it’s been great working with you’ or you know, ‘looking forward to next year’ or whatever – so old fashioned marketing, it works because not many people do it anymore. 

So, if you can think of something that’s a bit different and Will’s put something in the chat box about sending cupcakes, I think cupcakes are great, I’ve done that as well. I sent a box of cupcakes to a client who, it turns out he doesn’t drink, so I couldn’t send him a bottle of champagne as a thank you, so I sent him cupcakes, so you can be a bit creative with the different… I’ve written two books and so I regularly send copies of books to people as thank you gifts or, you know, as a joke, one of the giant business cards. So yeah, absolutely, send things through the post, do old fashioned things. I don’t think brochures work anymore, because they go out of date a bit too quickly, but you know if you want to get somebody’s attention, send them send them something a bit different. I have a penguin on my desk as well, all sorts of all sorts of fun stuff, you know, 

Derek – you send people penguins, do you?

Chantal – I don’t, no, I was sent this one. So, yeah, but just kind of be a bit creative and, you know, if you can find something that is… my business is called Appletree, so I’ve got lots of plastic apples on the desk as well I can send to people, you know have a bit of fun with what you can send that makes people smile or remember you. 

How does the client want to communicate?

And I’ve got coasters and all sorts around here that I’ve been sent, you know things that stick around that people find useful, definitely useful to send and send stuff, don’t do the old-fashioned stuff. And there’s also a really, really useful old-fashioned marketing tool. It’s called a telephone and they don’t get used enough these days, I have clients say to me, “Oh I’ve been trying to get hold of this potential client for the last three months and they don’t answer my emails and they won’t respond to my LinkedIn messages,” I’m like, “Just pick up the phone!” and you know, you’re not always going to get through to somebody, but leave a message. I was taught to always, always, always leave a message, and always tell the person when you will phone back, so if you get their answer phone “I’m sorry I couldn’t talk to you today, I will phone you on Friday.” And then phone them on Friday, because again, even if you can’t speak to them, you leave a message saying, “Well it’s Friday, I said I’d phone you on Friday, so that’s what I’m doing.” That adds to the trust, you know if somebody goes, “Okay. He said he was going to phone on Friday and he has. He does what he says he’s gonna do,” useful, tick tick trust box, works really well for people you’ve never even met so yeah, pick up the phone. Take, it offline as quickly as possible, as soon as possible with prospects.

Derek – Absolutely. 

Chantal – Will’s on the phone! You’d better not be phoning me, Will.

Derek – Will and I [waving phone] are having a quick chat while we’re doing this, as we did this morning, as we do three or four times a week, or swap text messages, or swap WhatsApp. So, I think text messages work really well with clients, actually better than emails, because everyone’s snowed under with emails and WhatsApp, I don’t know what you think about that, but …

Chantal – I think it really depends on the client, so I like to find out how my clients like to be communicated with. I hate it when clients, what are what’sapping me, I had a client, texting me at this morning. But my general rules are I only work between 10 in the morning and five in the evening. And so my clients know this, but it was just a client just sending me a quick message saying, “something for us to think about later on.” And, but it’s, it is, it’s really important to find out how your clients want to be communicated with because if you also do, “Now, right, well I only do email, therefore, clients are just going to have to deal with it,” clients don’t stick around for very long.

Derek – good job I’m not a client of yours, because I often text Tony or Will at about in the morning, when I’m at my best, and one or two other people have to suffer. My whatsapps as well which are flying around.

Chantal – fine yeah I would rather, if a client suddenly has a brilliant idea or wants to ask me a question, I would rather that they text or WhatsApp, or email, while they’re thinking about it, they know that they’re not going to get a response straightaway, but they know that – because sometimes you know it’s easier just to fire it off, and that’s fine. I’d rather they did that than sit on it for three hours and forget about it. They just know that I won’t necessarily respond to them straightaway.

One last tip

Derek – Sure, sure. Well we’re almost coming to the end of the recording, Chantal but I’m going to stop the recording in a minute and then throw it open to everybody to fire some questions at you but before I stop the recording, what’s one last tip for people watching this on YouTube or listening to the podcast?

Chantal – As in as in one last tip for marketing?

Derek – Yes, for marketing or success, which you got behind you. You’re a very successful businesswoman.

Chantal – Well, then, if you don’t like marketing, and you don’t know how to do it, find – get somebody to help you because it can be a bit of a minefield. 

Saying that, though, the next tip is, look at how you can simplify it, because less really is more now. You’d be better off, focusing all your effort on LinkedIn than doing LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blah, blah, blah and spreading yourself too thinly, so if in doubt, simplify it, keep the message simple. 

Derek – Okay, that was number one and number two was it, 

Chantal – it was Yeah, 

Questions and comments

Keeping in touch

Derek – I was watching the chat, I was multitasking not very well. looking at the chat box some interesting, Ryan puts in the chat box. He says since listening to some of the chat shows he finds the short LinkedIn messages are more effective than emails to open doors and then the old-fashioned phone call. Ryan’s quite young, actually I’m surprised he uses the phone. That was young people that didn’t use the phone actually.

Chantal – He’s also right because people will open up to you much more, you know, at the beginning of this year I was saying to my clients, “Get on the phone and talk to your clients about what their plans are for the year and how they’re getting on And is there anything you can help them with?” well, then you know what happened and we all got locked down, and so everyone’s plans got changed so I’m saying to my clients actually, now is a really good time to just get on the phone and talk to your clients and say, “How’s it going, what’s happening? Is it is it good, bad, ugly, what can I help with going forward?” and people, some people are just grateful to have somebody to talk to and it’s amazing what people will tell you and then it’s,. you’ve just got to really listen to what they’re saying and think about how you can help them, so yeah.

Derek – It’s unbelievable how many people won’t use the phone, and then get a bit grumpy because you don’t respond to one of their emails, which is unclear probably anyway. Chantal, Thanks for very much for joining us and it’s Appletree Marketing if anyone wants to get in touch with you, I believe?

Chantal – it is. Yep. Yes, thank you for having me.

Derek – Absolute pleasure thank you very much indeed. That’s brilliant.

Right, the recording has stopped, so now I’m going to unmute everybody. Okay. So, next question.

Further questions and comments

Following up an e-mail, what hook to use?

Nancy – Well I’ll jump in here if nobody else wants to. Okay, Chantal. I’ve volunteered my services to both my husband and his brothers, they each have individual businesses their sole traders. My husband’s an architect, my brother in law is a 3d visualizer. And so, they’re both highly creative, their work they produce is just fabulous. And of course, neither one of them like talking about themselves. Okay, and so working with them on their LinkedIn profiles. My brother in law’s done his website. He’s going to do my husband’s website. 

But I think, you know, what I volunteered for is to be the lady that picks up the phone and follows up from the email, in terms of, of generating interest with, he targeted 20 different architects and started out with a small group who might use 3d visualisation as part of their winning clients or bringing a project to life. And so, I guess my, my question is, if you were faced with what I’ve just described. What would be your sort of hook with people? I mean I’ve got what I think I’m gonna use this about but then I think, “Oh my god, you know, Where do I go here?” just listening to you I can start with the, ‘So how are things going for you?’ but I think I might get a phone put down there. Because I don’t know them, and I haven’t been doing much, I hate calling it cold calling because it’s such an old-fashioned term, but I haven’t done a lot of cold calling in the last few years. So just some thoughts on that would be useful. 

Chantal – So the 20 people that you’ve that you’ve identified, have you sent, do you say you’ve already sent them an email?

Nancy – he went and did that, he sent an email he sent it to me and said, What do you think of this and I edited it and you know tightened it up, but he wouldn’t put it in the final sentence that I suggested which was, ‘Let’s book some time in the diary to speak, how would next Tuesday be for you?’ And he said, “Oh no, no, no, that’s too, that’s too pushy,” you know, and I’m like “Oh gosh you know in this day and age you need to move people on and suggest that you are going to call next Tuesday and if that doesn’t work, then the person can suggest another time” so we have a very open ended email that went out last Tuesday, so I’m following up this week with things. 

Chantal – I actually agree with him I think it is too pushy to put in let’s talk next Tuesday because you have no idea, that they might be on holiday, they might be going to 

Nancy – Oh yeah, it gives them the opportunity to come back and say, “It doesn’t work for me,” and then you say, “When does?” 

Chantal  – So the way I would end any feature emails would be to say, “I will call you,” or “May I call you on Tuesday to see when is a good time for you, for us to talk?” so that way they know that they’re expecting a quick phone call to book in a proper time to talk. In terms of, so you sent an email, so I would say the next thing to do is pick up the phone and say, “I’d like to arrange a time for the two of you to have a proper conversation, when would be convenient?” That’s probably the easiest. And if they want, because presumably, it’s the guys who actually need to have the conversations with them, isn’t it, rather than you?

Nancy – Yeah, I’m just the conduit. I’m the braver person, to put it like that. But yeah, they’re – go on.

Chantal – have you connected with them on, are they connected on LinkedIn yet?

Nancy – No, they haven’t connected with those architects on, he hasn’t on LinkedIn so that’s no, 

Chantal – I would do that next. So, you sent the email out, before you make the phone calls, I would send a connection request on LinkedIn, saying, “Following the email, would you like to be connected?” Now, what I would probably then do is do a little bit of research into each one so that when you phone them, you can be saying, “I see that you’re currently working on such and such a project. Could we book a time to talk about this more?” rather than if you just go and say, “Can we book a time to talk because basically we want to sell you something?” 

They’re not necessarily going to give you a day, whereas if you show that you’ve done a bit of research, you know a bit about their organisation, and you can actually also go and … I like to comment on people’s … if people are posting on LinkedIn, or putting up articles or posts, I like to go in and comment on what they put up. So that basically you’ve got more, more chance of them actually taking your call when they phone.

Nancy – That’s a really good suggestion, and that’s what I’m going to do next. So, thanks for that. Cheers. 

Chantal – you’re very welcome.

Derek – There’s a question from Stephen in the chat box. Okay, Steven away you go.

Do we build relationships on Zoom?

Stephen – Thank you. and very quickly I just wanted to say thank you, Derek for organising these sessions, I always read your newsletter and unbelievably, this is the first time since lockdown I’ve actually been able to get on to one of these sessions, just through other commitments, that I’m really, really pleased to be here. And also, I’ve heard you speak as well and, and, Will, I’ve been to one of your sessions, so nice to see you again. Chantal, thanks very much, that was great presentation discussion. 

And I just really understood, you know, we’re all here on Zoom, we’ve been talking a lot about, you know, pick up the phone. I’ve met so many new people through video conferencing through Zoom over lockdown. People, I now have quite strong relationships with I’ve never actually met in the real world. Do you think Zoom offers, you know, another sort of weapon in the in the armoury or tool to really sort of develop policy relationships, and how should it be used. do you think?

Chantal – that’s really good question. I think it is another good tool. And from what I was saying earlier, it’s about finding out how other people want to be communicated with. So, I was a little bit anti to start with, I didn’t like using Zoom and then we kind of all had to, and like you, I’ve met, I’ve been travelling around the UK, from the comfort of my office chair and networking and speaking at events all around the country and meeting people and I now have clients who I’ve never properly met, we’ve done it all by Zoom. 

But what I tend to do is – So for instance, I might meet somebody, we might meet at this sort of event, I would then go and look you up on LinkedIn and maybe send you a message saying, “Nice to meet you. Do you want to connect? And if you’d like to have a chat about marketing anytime give me a shout.” Quite often people will come back and go, “Yeah okay, yeah, I’m interested,” and at that point I’ll say, “Would you want to talk on the phone, or do you want to Zoom, so I tend to leave it up to them, rather than saying, “Let’s do it via Zoom or let’s do it by phone” because you know, some people do still actually only want to speak on the phone and I still have some clients who much prefer phoning me for their monthly mentoring session and doing it on the phone, because they find it less distracting. I actually find it less distracting because I’m not worrying about what I’m wearing, what I’m looking like, what they’re looking like, what’s going on in the background. 

So, but I think generally find out what works for the other person, the prospect and go with that. And I kind of muck around with it a bit every now and then and I’ll say, “Do you want to talk on the phone, do you want to Zoom, do you want to do intergalactic space travel, do you want a carrier pigeon? What do you want?” something that makes it fun, it makes it appear fun, find out what works for them.

Hide self-view

Stephen – Something that I learned recently that you can do is ‘hide self-view.’ Which, given that I’m an incredibly vain person, and it’s actually really useful because if you’re no longer looking at yourself and actually looking at the person you’re meant to be talking to, I think it makes it, again, it’s more like the real world isn’t it?

Chantal – I think so because yeah, I think you can get too caught up in what, because not, if you think about if you’re in a normal face to face in a room meeting someone, you can’t see what you look like, all of a sudden you’ve got yourself on the screen, I mean at the moment I’ve got speaker view, so I’ve got you, this big on my screen and I’m in a tiny little box in the corner, because that means I can… It feels more like we’re having a conversation and I think it also helps you to give the other person, more attention, I mean it’s slightly tricky because at the moment I’m looking at my camera, which is up here on the top of my computer, and now [dropping her gaze] I’m looking directly at your face on the screen. So, actually, maintaining eye contact with somebody through zoom is kind of tricky. Yes, yes, we getting used to doing that but I think, yeah, hiding selfie or having the other person in speaker view means you can you can give them attention, without worrying about, “oh, what does my hair look like… and is my scarf okay [giggles]” 

Stephen – which can be very worrying.

Chantal – Yeah, you look great, Will

Active listening

Derek – He could do with that crown topper that President Trump’s got really, Jim’s [??] got one. Couple of points, I’d like to raise. Thank you, Steven very, very much for your kind remarks about Will and I, it’s a pleasure and a pleasure to have people joining us, it’s been a great experience and I’ve had so many Zoom calls with so many different people, it’s been brilliant. Just something to mention on the telephone – a lot of people don’t get when someone picks up a phone, it pays to listen very carefully to exactly what they say and then play back to them what they say. This works in neuro linguistics and this works for connecting so if I pick up the phone and say, “Hello, it’s Derek Arden,” ideally people should say “Hello Derek.” They’re repeating two of the words that I said, and in the unconscious mind that will connect immediately. Generally, people don’t do that. When I ask people that question, what they say, on a seminar when I’ve got a live group of … more than half of people say, I, so Will Kintish, rather than Hello Derek and playing it back. If you’re talking about marketing, if you’re talking about selling, these are little things that make a massive difference to the whole thing and it comes back to what Dale Carnegie said and what we’ve been saying all the time, the more you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes, the better results.

Chantal – You do have to be… I was reading something recently about, about active listening, but you’ve got to be really careful that you, if you’re repeating so if somebody says oh well my challenge is x y z, you’ve got to, if you’re going to use that technique, you’ve got to get the wording, absolutely spot on, you’ve got to use their wording, because if you don’t, if you say, “Oh I understand that you’re being challenged by such and such.” Then you could well lose them, so I’m not a huge fan of active listening in terms of reflecting back in what they’ve said, I tend to prefer to. I’m getting into the whole, into ‘Time to Think’, the Nancy Kline work [great book] which is, a kind of a different way of listening and it’s almost allowing people to talk more and come to their own conclusions rather than saying say, “Well I think what you’re saying is,” but that’s…

Derek – that’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it, how do you, that’s what you’re thinking, that’s the issue. But I would say, “Well about five minutes ago, you said to me that the really key issue was that you need to “paraphrase” what they said, you needed to find a solution to this business issue. Well, let’s have a look and have a brainstorm how we can find the solution to this business issue,” you’ve got to be really careful, I do agree with you that you’re, you don’t Mickey take, which then comes into their conscious mind by playing it back as some call centres do, but just playing by the words and that’s a skill, that’s active listening, and then reacting to it. Yeah, no, absolutely. Okay, next question.

Handwritten notes

Tim – Chantal [Otter said I’m tall] I just – First of all, I love the ABCs, that was very nice and very concise, and I also loved the fact that you mentioned hand written cards and written notes. 

I think in this day and age there are very few things that we can use to market ourselves more effectively than a handwritten note, which means that we need, I believe we need to get personalised stationery. And in the United States. I don’t know if it’s true in UK, but executives don’t use the eight and a half by 11. We they use something called monarch, which is seven and a quarter by nine. It’s executive level stationery but it’s got the embossed name. Well, the reason I say that – a person I looked up to when I got my very first promotion sent me a handwritten note, and I never forgot this, matter of fact, I have it still, it’s 49 years old. 

And the other point was that I once went to an event by the owners of the company I worked for. 860 people went, and I was the only one that sent back a handwritten thank you note, and the owner was so impressed, they said, I don’t know who this guy is, but find them. That was the beginning of a very sharp trajectory. My, my sense is, we send thank you notes, handwritten. And even if we have Chinese hieroglyphics for handwriting, it’s really important. 

The other thing is, if you notice, or know the person from a personal point of view, I would – and you see an article, rather than send an email with a link, I would copy or cut out the article, fold it up and send it along because they can’t click on the link they might not have time. But if it was for you. And you were still interested in horses and I saw something about a horse show, I’d say, “Were you aware of this?” Now to my question. I have also written handwritten notes, not cards to people who have lost someone and mentioning how I knew them or didn’t know them, but how they affected this person. What do you – is that customary in the UK? 

Cards for bereavement – must be authentic

Chantal – I don’t think it is in business, and I think it is a phenomenally good idea, because I do that, I have a supply of cards in the office, and one of my former clients, her dad died of corona virus a couple of months ago, she posted on Facebook, about how upset she was. I pulled a card out of the office; I wrote stuff on it… 

Sympathy cards are tricky; so many people will write things like, “I’m sorry for your loss,” unless you’ve actually lost a parent, it can be harder to do. I’m in the interesting position, I’ve lost all three of mine – two parents and a step-father – so I’m thinking, how am I feeling about having lost Mum and Dad? whoever, and then I’ll write something from the heart. I think you need to know the person well enough, you don’t need to know who died, if you know them well enough, so, a past client, yeah, absolutely, send them something. But it has got to be genuine, don’t just put, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Write something that is actually going to mean something to them. Because it’s not done very much, doing it will make you stand out, not in a … people won’t go, “Oh, he’s just marketing.” But “Oh, what a really nice thing for him to do.”

Tim – and I agree, because I have also lost parents and when I got cards from people that I knew, even a little bit, it had a really, really big impact, but the idea is to express sympathy, not to instrumentalise, in terms of ‘I use it as an instrument of marketing’, which would be beyond unethical. 

Show and tell

Chantal – you are doing it because you care about the person, if you don’t know them enough or you don’t care… I’m gonna reach behind my computer and show you a couple of things – this is a thankyou card, that I received from somebody in the PSA, Alistair’s had these cards done, so he’s got his branding on the back, he then hand-writes them, he’s actually got a quote on the front, which says, “I can no other answer make, but thanks and thanks and ever thanks,” by William Shakespeare, and he’s had that done on a branded card, that’s really nice. 

My other favourite one, Moo! – Moo.com, I love Moo. I’ve had little stickers made! So, these are my little Appletree stickers, so if I’m sending … the Christmas cards have my logo on, but if I’m sending – the other cards are not branded, so I will quite often put a sticker on the inside or on the back, to make it really clear who’s sending it. You don’t have to go fully branded but having something that says who you are is a nice touch. 

Tim – I think it’s important now that our humanity outpace our technology and nothing does that better than a personalised card or handwritten note, thank you. 

Birthday cards, Christmas cards

Chantal – birthday cards are great too, I know, I have a calendar hanging on the wall, I know when a lot of my clients’ birthdays are, you can find out on LinkedIn and Facebook, I like surprising people with  handwritten birthday card, I stick glitter in them, just so they get a glittery explosion, a bit of fun.

Derek – changing the subject to a more positive note, I still want to talk about cards, I always send Christmas cards and I put something personal  in there, I did that when I worked for Barclays, I used to send over 100, it took about half a day to write them, “Thank you for the business,” something personal, “I really enjoyed our trip to Wimbledon,” (or whatever it was). What I noticed was, I just got cards back from 95% of the people with a scribbled, ‘David’, didn’t even know who David was, there were about 45 Davids or so I could have had in the clients, and I thought, “They’re writing the card, they’re posting it, someone’s doing the label, and they are missing the biggest trick of the whole thing, to actually connect with the person, and some of you know my pal Geoff Rand [?], well, Chantal knows him as well, Geoff’s a marketing guru just like Chantal, Geoff sent everybody a Christmas card on 22 July, saying, “We’re all in lockdown, you might want something to cheer you up, so here’s you early Christmas card, so …

Chantal – oh that’s brilliant! 

Derek – Geoff sends all his Christmas cards to arrive in your letterbox on 1 December, ‘cause he thinks, you’re wasting your time if you’re not the first or second one to arrive.

Chantal – that’s the reason I order mine so early and start writing them in November, mine go in the post the first week in December, to get in early, there’s going to be an added challenge this year, the majority of my clients work from home anyway, but if you’ve got clients who work from home when they don’t normally, you need to find out their home addresses, otherwise their Christmas cards ain’t gonna get there.

Derek – yeah… and you can’t really ask them for their home addresses, can you? 

Chantal – you can, but they might not want to give it to you, it depends on the size of the organisation. My pet hate with Christmas cards are the ones that don’t even say your name at the top, they just say, ‘best wishes from… Derek’ – so they’re not even thinking, they’ve got labels stuck on, so they’ve just gone, “[unintelligible], nice to meet you,” they’re not even  thinking about who you are, they’re just sitting there, signing and signing and signing, getting a PA to stick them in envelopes, it’s pointless. Some years I do Christmas card awards, I give awards for the worst ones and best ones, because that’s quite fun. 

Derek – what a great idea! Couple of things in the box, Chantal, from Ryan, who’s left to feed a 2-year old, “Nice touch, Tim, not common in the UK, but when you’re the recipient, when you touch someone in that way, you always receive a positive response. Kindness is key in this world.” Absolutely. Genuine kindness, that’s great. Who else? Will, please…

Will and Chantal – cloned!

Will – just want to say, Chantal, that every single word you’ve said tonight resonates with me. Everything, just every single word, from handwritten cards, to following up in a professional way, I just want to say thank you for that. 

Chantal – you’re very welcome, it was all done specially for you, Will. 

Will – let me tell you this, you can’t bullshit a bullshitter, and I am a professional! 

Derek – yeah, you’re good at that, Will, we have got you down for 10 gold stars for that!, Martin, who I believe used to work for NatWest for a long time, is that right? Said he used to deliver (I assume NatWest) calendars to all his staff and to all his customers, it’s personalising it that makes a massive difference, putting yourself out, not many people put themselves out. It’s very interesting, isn’t it, and they are wasting such valuable time, people like us, of course we do.

Internal marketing

I was just thinking, in the NHS, seeing Duncan there, who worked for the NHS for a long time, I’m seeing Elvira, exactly the same applies when someone does you a favour internally, a little hand-written note blows them away – and think about the networking that that causes within something like a huge organisation, because, if you work for a big organisation, you are only as good as your contacts within that organisation to make things happen, that’s certainly what I found, working for a huge bank.

Chantal – and if you’re looking for career progression, if you are looking for a promotion, you’ve got to look at ways of standing out, you’re effectively marketing yourself. Yeah – so look for ways of standing out and making a difference. 

Following up and the value of persistence

Will – that’s what Tim did with his card. Chantal, you talk about marketing and starting the process, one of the things I’m always going on about, and I trust you agree with me, is even if people get the smell of potential business, they are not brilliant at following it up.  You’re smiling at me. We’re not talking about cold calling, or chasing people to sell them anything, if someone shows an interest in you, or you meet them at an event and they ask you to send them a proposal, you have to follow it up to the end, because, what we are doing, we are doing them a favour, we are giving them a gift, I’m going to charge them that much [indicating a level] for my services, but the value that they will get out of it is that much [indicating a greater level]. So I will be following it up, I get to the third email and say, “Please give me guidance, if you don’t want to hear from me, tell me and I won’t bother you again because I don’t want to upset you.” We don’t like hearing, “No”, but no is the second-best answer after yes. 

Chantal – and most times, No, what they mean is ‘not yet’. You’re absolutely right, we are too scared to pick up the phone and chase people. They might say, “No” or they might say, “leave me alone,” I turn it into a bit of a joke sometimes, if I’m leaving messages because somebody hasn’t responded to my call for the third or fourth time, I say, “Look, I’m not going to phone you again because you obviously don’t want to hear from me, so I’ll stop phoning you now and I’ll leave you alone.” And the number of times people have responded within 5 minutes, saying, “No, no, I am still interested, I’m just busy.” So, you can have a bit of a play with it. But if you don’t follow up, people will just assume that you’re not interested any more. I never leave the ball in their court, I don’t say, “Please phone me.” I say, “Give me a call, and I will phone you on Thursday.” Or Friday, whenever. You’ve got to keep on it – they’re busy. People keep saying to me, “He doesn’t return my calls.”  No, he’s got work to do, you’re not the top of his priority list, you’ve got to be persistent. And being persistent – I have won clients because they have said, “I love your persistency.” I keep chasing after them – if I really want to work with them, I’ll keep going until they put a restraining order on me. I have had some say, “Thank you for being so persistent.”

Will – well, all I can say is either you’re a clone of me, or I’m a clone of you. Because every single word you say is exactly what I say to everybody!

Chantal – that’s scary, Will! That’s very scary.  

Winding up

Derek – plugs the GGBC meeting on Wednesday, he’s speaking about Zoom negotiations. Tim from Texas next Monday on change. 

Tim – this will be on the William Bridges model – change, leading change and how to follow the leaders that are changing, probably the most important session that he’s done, relevant personally and professionally. 

Applause for Chantal. 

Camera and flip chart set up

Derek – changes in Zoom re unmute? Derek can only ask you to unmute self. 

Chantal – flagged that camera wobbles (need sturdier boxes to support laptop). 

Derek – worse when he touches laptop.

Chantal – more on height of flipchart. Don’t have to lean down to camera, better to keep on one level.

Jill – check if the flipchart legs are adjustable? Sometimes they unscrew, need to raise the front legs. Also – calibrate with laptop and put a post it or tag on the flipchart stand (not a page), so you always know how low you can go before it disappears.